As I mentioned, yesterday was Zack's first parent-teacher conference. Unfortunately, Rob had to travel, so I went by myself. As I was sitting there in the hall, waiting my turn, I was really nervous! I mean, it seemed like he's been doing fine, but you never know. Plus, I kept thinking that I'm not old enough to be on this side of parent-teacher conferences---that's for adults! It's strange how some milestones hit you like that.
To start, I have to say that I really love his school. Our county is known for having an excellent school system, and all, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the schools are likable. I really think ours is. It seems like a really close-knit community and the school and PTA seem really focused on doing good things for the kids. Zack's teacher is fresh out of school, but she's so enthusiastic and just loves those kids. A friend of ours is a teacher in the school system, and he said that if they hired her right out of school, she must be exceptional, and she certainly seems to be. Another great thing about our school is that there are only about 18 kids in the class. (My friends with kids in other schools all say their class sizes are closer to 30.) As a result, each child gets a lot of individual attention and encouragement.
The school also has a great aftercare program that's well integrated with the school and it's activities. The PTA brings in after-school classes that the kids can sign up for, too. There's a broad range, from soccer to yoga to karate. We signed Zack up for Young Rembrandts, a drawing class, which he loves and is learning so much from. I've posted pictures he's done in that class before.
So now to the conference. In sum, he's doing great, as you can see from the report. He's at a level 2 in reading (though she thinks he'll be moving up to 3 soon), which means he knows some sight words and can figure out some words from (what we used to call) context clues. She said he's sounding some words out, and he's writing simple sentences. She challenges him to do that instead of just labeling pictures (one example of individualized attention). They do a lot of activities where they have to draw pictures, then label them or count things or something like that. She said he doesn't always have time to finish the project, but it's because he's so detailed in his drawing, so she doesn't mind.
He's doing great in his math skills, no problems.
He is also doing well in his social skills, which I was very glad to hear. She said he's a very kind boy, that he talks with everyone, and he has lots of friends. She'd noticed that he was a little slow to warm up, but that in the last couple weeks she's noticed him chatting more, and when they're doing their table work she can hear him talking to his tablemates. She said she was glad to see him coming into his own, but that she hopes he won't get too chatty!
He sometimes comes to her a little too readily to solve problems with classmates, but they have a system for working on that, and that he's improving. He knows what he's supposed to do, but he told me that he sometimes forgets. He's apparently very protective of his personal space and doesn't like others to touch him too much.
He apparently is also very good at keeping his space clean and neat, and putting away toys. All I'm going to say here is that I'm glad that behavior occurs somewhere.
His teacher was really excited to hear that he brings a lot of what he learns home--patterns, sounding out words, sight words, etc. She said he asks lots of questions and raises his hand to answer a lot. So he's doing great!
Rob was at a work retreat on Saturday, so Zack and I had a day for adventure. Earlier in the week, Zack had commented that we hadn't gone to the zoo in a while, so off we went. We had a great time. It was a gorgeous fall day, not to cold, beautifully sunny. Zack was in a great mood all day. First stop was the reptile house (of course). We managed to hit feeding time for both the green anacondas and the alligator snapping turtle. Then we checked out the invertebrate house for the first time. Somehow we'd always missed that before, but we found a lot of cool stuff there: cuttlefish, mantis shrimp, bird-eating tarantulas (I maintain that there is no good reason for a spider that big), hermit crabs (substantially bigger than the ones we've found in CT), and lots of other bugs and sea creatures. We saw lots of other fun things, too. It's so obvious he's getting older because he'll spend more time at each exhibit and is so interested in all the animals. We did a ton of walking, since we took the Metro, but he did great walking around all day. That didn't preclude a nap on the train ride home, however.
He's becoming a pro at the Metro. He used the card to get through the gate. Then he decided he'd put his card in his coat pocket and zip it up, so I let him hold onto his card all day. He held onto it all day.
Kelly came over to hang out with us on Sunday. We went to Ikea, got our fix of Swedish food, did a little shopping. Again, Zack was in a great mood and was a lot of fun. He finagled a rather sizable shark out of the deal, which he carried around throughout pretty much the entire store. We came home to a lovely crock pot chicken dinner by Chef Roberto. It was really great to have a family day--it felt like it had been a long time since we'd just hung out together like that.
Today I went to Zack's first parent-teacher conference. More on that later.
We started this blog as we began renovations and an addition on our home, and we kept joking that we were giving Abi, our wonderful weimaraner, a new home. Many things have changed since then, and Abi is no longer with us, but in memory of her, we keep the name of the blog the same.